It’s that magical time of year again! Summer solstice marks the official beginning of summer with longer days wrapped up with warm weather. While our social calendars are quickly filling up it can be easy to forget that this season shift can affect our health if we aren’t properly equipped. Our first indication that summer has hit often times comes in the form of a sunburn. We think that we know better after countless years of farmers tans and awkwardly placed sunburns however with our busy schedules sun protection isn’t always at the forefront of our mind. So today we want to bring up some simple ways to help better prepare you from the sun’s UV rays so you can fully enjoy the benefits of our most beloved natural vitamin D source.
The sun is a wonderful part of our day and can be incredibly beneficial to our health. However if you aren’t protecting your skin daily from UV rays you could unintentionally be adding stress to your skin by giving it more work to do. There are multiple ways to protect your skin from stressors in addition to using a daily SPF. And while not all SPF’s are created equal it’s important to remember the following when purchasing your daily care:
1 - SPF needs to be replenished often. If you still have a bottle from last year the problem is you are not using enough and it is less effective. The amount of SPF needed to protect you well completely is more than the average individual tends to apply. That leads us to our next point...
2 - Reapplication is key but set yourself up right and apply 20 - 30 minutes prior to any sun exposure. A burn most likely will occur during the time you are applying while in the sun and the reapplication process is only protecting your skin from continuously burning.
3 - The higher Sun Protection Factor number doesn’t always mean more protection. Starting between an SPF 15 and 30 is the biggest jump in protection however the difference between 30 and 45 is miniscule. So don’t fall for the SPF 100+ numbers and expect greater protection. For everyday you can stick to 15 to 30 SPF and between 45 to 50 for days with maximum exposure.
When looking for SPF it’s important to remember that physical sunscreen such as zinc oxide is ideal because it will physically block UV rays. A tan is your skin’s defense mechanism against the sun and depending on how active your melanin is in the first place it’s not a skin function to rely on longterm. If you don’t have a tendency to burn that doesn’t mean UV rays are not prematurely aging your cells. A simple comparison would be if you know that you can eating something that isn’t considered healthy like ice cream without gaining weight, that doesn’t mean that eating ice cream all the time won’t affect your body in different ways overtime. The sugar and dairy can eventually affect your liver and hormones which can create long term consequences. Everything in moderation but the point is that just because your skin doesn’t burn doesn’t mean you are exempt from SPF. For additional information on how SPF works check out this article on the skin cancer foundation website.
Sunscreen is also such a personal choice in terms of application and finish so as much as we want to list our SFT favorites we want you to tap into your intuition and pick out the ones you feel best with. We love this list from Goop and guide from EWG as resources to help you find your best SPF fit.
Other beneficial topical care to help protect and nourish your skin would be sustainably sourced vitamins C and E. If you use vitamin A in your routine at all you are more likely to experience sensitivity due to the rapid speed of your cell turnover. A compromised barrier can make you sensitized to heat, light and other environmental factors so consider cutting back on rapid turnover and excess exfoliation for this time period. Essentially you want to focus on strengthening your skin cells without having to completely backtrack the work that the vitamin a has put into your skin. Since we tend to sweat a little more over the summer it’s okay to shift your topical focus to a simplified routine focused on nourishment and hydration.
Let’s say you do everything right and still come up with a burn. Don’t fret, next week we are going to dive into some internal care to help create an internal protection as well. Our go-to would be to gently wash off the day with a cooling shower and nourish your skin with an essential fatty acid rich solution such as conscious coconut to help heal your stressed skin. If you support your immunity by getting tons of rest as well you will also notice that your skin will recover much faster this way. So remember to cool, nourish and rest in case of a burn. So start your summer off right with a fresh SPF and mindfulness towards how you protect your largest organ. Understanding how the subtle differences make a different is essential to best skincare practices and long term optimal skin health. Thanks for reading and look for more information on proper internal sun care next week.